Saturday, January 07, 2006

Five books from the past 6 months that I couldn't put down
Gombrich writes a sweeping and fluid narrative of the history of civilization, he's brilliant. This book was originally written for children, it's got a sweet tone, but he's never condescending. His knowledge is vast, the book begins in Pre-historic times and I'm not sure where it ends because I'm still reading it, but he spends most of the book on ancient times, the dark and middle ages. Thumbs waywayway up.
He wrote Gosford Park. Snobs tells the story of a good looking middle class girl who marries up into society but is then ruthlessly snubbed by the snobs. The intricate behavior one is expected to follow to get along in upper-crust British society is explained as the story unfolds. I had to continually bug Mrs. Cub to listen to incredible passages as I was reading. Usually she would ask me not to read out loud and eventually she'd get up and leave the room, sadly missing out... Julian fellows is an insider who exposes the unwritten rules of the game. Like Wharton, only meaner. FUN!
A Neurosurgeon has a really bad day. "There's lots to chew on in this book and a berserk climax" (to quote my own penetrating review from last May)
American Psycho. My bible? Any fan of that book should read this follow up, Patrick Bateman is back! The last few pages of the book are unbefrickenliveably beautiful.
Woman in the Dunes meets Robinson Crusoe set on a traffic island in London. What are you kids reading?

Your recommendations are appreciated mucho Corny. Snobs definitely sounds like fun. Mean fun can be the best kind.

Bret Easton Ellis and American Psycho. Well I had a weird experience with this book. Bought it at an airport in London before flying home. At that time I was having particularly bad airplane anxieties. The book was unhelpful to my general sense of well-being and although I thought the chapter on the band Genesis, in particular its placement in the series of events, was BRILLIANT, when it came to the more gruesome passages I had to make it stop. I am wussy. But I am curious about Luna Park. Will check it out.
In Luna Park, Bret Easton Ellis turns himself into a fictional caracter named Bret Easton Ellis who gives a frank account of his career and his failings and moves to the suburbs to try to turn his life around. Ghosts haunt him and his daughters doll trys to kill him, characters from past novels are hanging around... meanwhile he's abusing drugs and fuckign up his relationship with this son (whom he claims is really Keanu Reeves' son). It's personal and emotional, there is some violence but it's turned inward.
great list corny! concrete island sounds especially great.
Thank you Corn-pone. The Gombrich sounds great - "written for children" makes it especially enticing. Will definitely check it out.
The Encyclopedia of Surfing, Tropic of Cancer, TV Guide.
Nuruddin Farah, Maps: depressing. Fan of Mary Gaitskill's Two Girls, Fat and Thin though I think her short stories are dumb. Loosely based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame one of my favorite books. I get all weepy when people talk about sanctuary. Did you know Dennis Cooper is a big Ellis fan?
Capt'n are you also a Reader's Digest fan? Just curious. I don't read TV Guide enough anymore. I used to. Thanks for reminding me. BTW Tropic of Cancer was my FAVORITE book back in the day.

Kelli, I have not read 2 girls but have liked certain of Mary Gaitskill's short stories, specifically from Bad Behavior. Why do you find them dumb? I always felt like I had to take a shower after I read her. Which I thought was kind of darling.

Also, for any of you out there who has a weakness for Project Runway (I haven't seen it yet this season) please visit this blog for scathing commentary that makes me want to watch it right now (go to the comments section for the goods):
Trite maybe a better word than dumb. In the novel Quasimodo is a heavy woman and the mean-spirited priest is a hipster boy. The stories are sort of too hip and I liked that the novel was like a brutal critique of hipness. Also I identified with the angry, slightly ridiculous fat chick who reads a lot of Ayn Rand novels.
You've sold me, I must read it. A fatty who reads Ayn Rand. I haven't thought about Ayn Rand in so long...I'm headed down memory lane.

When I read the MG short stories I didn't think hip. Perhaps it was my ridiculously lonely and abject circumstance at the time that caused me to have real-time worry that I could relate to some of the characters. Anyway. I read the stories when I first moved to NY and was embroiled in all kinds of wrongness. I digress. Again. I meant to chop my hands off hours ago to stop this infernal blogging but the devil of the ether compels me to stay. I swear this is my last post of the day......
MM the pull of the blog is a force to be reconed with but before you go cutting your hands off try impounding paws in multiple pairs of tube socks and insert bundles into hightop sneakers, bind tightly.
That doesn't really work for me...
Thanks guys for your posts...i got a lot of reading to do. kelli, I love all monster stores, (Perfume,Frankenstein, Dracula,American Psycho...) so will read Hunchback of Notre Dame. Dennis Cooper's last book, Son of God was very good, I can see the relationship between Dennis and Bret, well at least a love for drugs. I've never read Mary Gaitskill, I'm on it.
Tropic of Cancer... thanks Capt'n.
You guys rule. We have a cleaning service here today and all i can do is sit at my computer and try to stay out of the way, thanks for keeping me company.
Andrea Dworkin works as pornographic reading material. I think she was a closeted leatherdyke. Truly decadent if you watch the Night Porter and drink amaretto at the same time.
I love Amaretto.
i especially like in lunar park that he calls JM the Jayster. we read it in our book club, my only la social activity. we just read another bullshit night in suck city which was a good ride, expect for that pompous interview at the end.
Amra, very exciting about your book being published! Woo-hoo we'll have a party for you in NY when it comes out! We were thinking of comming to LA on the 20th for A.L. Steiner and Eve Fowlers opening... we'll see don't have our tkts yet.

please to share what your book club has read and what you recomend...
How do you guys feel about Benjamin Weissman's writing? I think his stories are hilarious. His lady Amy Gerstler's poetry is beautiful, I am curious to know what yous guys think.
Yous guys. Y'all. Y'ins. I turn hick now.
mmmmmm sipping amaretto on a vinyl covered couch
I just did google based research project on Benjamin Weissman and am intrigued. Funny interview in Believer magazine. Will look into this further.
good reads from the spines, la book club:
-another bullshit night in suck city by nick flynn
-we read the dylan chronicles and hated it
-the world of normal boys, this was a good faggot read
-my life in heavy metal, kind of fun short stories but not great.
-now we are reading a fortress of solitude by jonathan lethem and there is some controversy, the group is divided, i think i hate it so i am reading prep by curtis sittenfeld on the sly and having fun.
- i just read the dog of the marriage by amy hempel and i love her.
oh, where is the opening? you two should come. jet blue to burbank, cheapo.
I disliked Fortress of Solitude too and was too ashamed to admit it until now. Sigh. Such relief.
I liked fortress of solitude...sucked right in.I liked how he was constantly getting mugged which was a whole ritual full of double speak. The magic powers part lost me a bit.
I adored fortress of solitude. LOVED it. Even the magic part.
i love anything E.H. Gombrich!
Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation

Very good.
sounds interesting, proly a different take then the definitive Disney story of Pocahontas...
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